Let it be said that the editor-in-chief (fur immer moi) is courageous. Although I reserve the right to retroactively change my mind, at this moment my etch is sketched, and I have determined a winner for our contest You Didn’t Write That.
The cowardly way, would of course, have been to assign the judging to someone else. However, as this is the first contest since our official re-booty, I thought some juevos were in order, and I am making the call.
So this very subjective determination is really an expression of my own prejudices and values,some which I hope to share and even impart upon those who visit this site. All the finalist entries are superb, and for different reasons.
I am sure that everyone’s emotional favorite is Miryam Meier-Howard’s recreation of the scene in which she learned of her son’s death. Good fiction creates catharsis, and although Miryam’s telling was not fictionalized, it never-the-less created a moment of healing shared by the author, which could not have been achieved with mere recitation of the facts, but only by skilled cadence and sensitivity. Miryam made us, let us, feel something, and something very personal. When I read, it is not to think, but to feel. I believe it was Frances Bacon who said “The world is a comedy to those who think, a tragedy to those who feel.”
Next finalist is Ashley Johnson, who was able to create a story with a beginning, a middle and an end in her two hundred words. Ashley has been inactive as a writer, but the addiction was fanned by reading the other entries and we can only hope she does not find the cure. Welcome aboard, Ashley, and I assure all of you that she is NOT the Ashley in Theresa Ann’s ongoing stage play “Let’s Make a Scene” (I am getting an awful lot of fun reading her play, by the way. Witty, well crafted, and itself very addicting. I do hope that as you read the contest entries you will become a fan of Theresa Ann and will leave her a few comments.)
Mac Eagan is a perpetual contender, meaning he has a great editor in Mari, his daughter. He creates unique characters and settings. Who wooda thunk of a story about a tagger? Mac consistently makes fiction seem like reality, and he does it with convincing dialogue and characterizations. His plots are always one-of-a-kind, and I suspect that Mac will sooner rather than later become published for an anthology of his short stories.
Tisha Deutsch is a woman after my own heart. As many of you know, I raised my three kids on my own, and to write meant having to get up at four in the morning, because at six it was all over as I got the kids ready for school and me for the day job. Tisha is not a single parent, but she has maximized the load by adopting children, as if the demands of two are not enough. Never-the-less, she found time to be reflective and to write, and her tale is something her daughter will come to appreciate as she gets older. It’s a sweet tale with a powerful punchline. Read it again and you will see how Tisha has intuited her daughter’s spirit. Empathy is a job requirement for all who would write. Thanks Tisha.
There was of course, my own entry. I was bored and it was self indulgent but I’m the editor-in-chief so I’m aloud–oops!-allowed! But the truth of the matter is all of the finalists exceeded what I wrote by leaps and bounds. Especially, our winner of You Didn’t Write That, Michael Stang.
If Mike were a painter, he would be Renoir. His words brush the page randomly, and only make sense when seen as the whole. An impressionistic writer, phrases playing off themselves and an occasional line of brilliance like “tongue stuck on stupid”. Mike reminds us that language is really a translation of what is wordless, but while most of us try to succeed by accurately translating experience, thought, and feeling into words, Mike translates what is more abstract, the human spirit. We get an impression of a young man struggling, scraping the walls of his brain for some understanding of a hostile world, and trying to make it more manageable. Also consistent in Mike’s writing is a sense of humility, which can only feel authentic when written by one whom life has humbled, and by more than a casual encounter.
I love a good story, an imaginative use of words, and a few brilliant lines that make me see what the author wants me to see. Gottem all in Mike’s winning entry “Liar”. Always a bridesmaid, finally a bride.
And so Michael Stang is our winner, and with that comes the burden of judging the next contest, which I will announce in a few days. Mike will have a surprise trophy coming in the mail, which I hope he will photograph and sent back for us to put on line.
Next contest announcement in a few days…